“If I get married, I want to be very married.”
– Audrey Hepburn
We must have looked absurd when we entered the fancy little Thai place with patchy red cheeks, matted hair, snow covered hiking clothes, and clunky boots.
6 years ago my very new husband and I had a quite literal “mountain-top” experience. We’d climbed a snowy mountain where we were honeymooning in Lake Tahoe, California. Now, I use the term “climb” a bit loosely. There were no ropes or harnesses, but the hike was intense, and much more than we had planned for. In fact, I’m not sure we quite knew what we had planned for. We’d rented some snowshoes and started walking along the trails, but a bit of the way in, we realized that the snowshoes were complicating things quite a bit and it was easier to walk with our hiking boots. There was no one else around, so we decided it would be safe to just to leave them on the trail and retrieve them on our way back down. But just in case anyone showed up, we thought we’d better tuck them away behind a tree to avoid having them stolen.
Well, as you can probably imagine, the tree that seemed so distinct and so directly on the path on the way up, managed to blend itself in quite well as we made our way down. And “the trail” turned into several little possible paths, so that as we reached the large mountain base after our climb, very hungry and elated at our accomplishment, we came to realize that we had no idea where the snowshoes were, which, if we failed to find them, would result in a very hefty fee upwards of $300.
The vastness of the mountain’s base became discouragingly clear as the sun began to set and I realized that I had lost track not only of the snowshoes, but also my husband. As we’d each followed our individual hunches, one of the wooded paths had swallowed him up. I felt very defeated. I stood for several minutes, motionless, watching the sun set in a still and peaceful movement over the mountainous horizon. And that’s when I saw it. In the distance a figure was coming towards me out of the white emptiness of snow. Raised above my husband’s head John Cusack boombox style, were the snowshoes, a pair in each hand.
The hostess at the Thai restaurant welcomed these two beaten-up wanderers graciously, and the candle-lit table fed our ravenous appetites, gave us warmth, and a offered place to chuckle a little at the day’s events.
This Sunday I’ll be celebrating 6 years with my furry-faced, philosophically-minded, baseball-playing, glee-club singing, engineer-brained, faithful friend and husband, Jeff.
In marriage, the actual course of the journey is often unexpected. There are mountain-top experiences. There are discouraging, chilly, lost, and distant seasons. There are times when answers seem scarce. But there are also times of deep friendship, of warmth, and of nourishment. These are the moments that give value and meaning to the rest.